Eastern New Mexico University’s Zias took Lone Star Conference South Division-leading Tarleton State to the wire before dropping a 65-59 decision in the final seconds Saturday at Greyhound Arena.
The Zias (3-13, South 1-3) recovered from a n 11-point, first-half deficit, forcing the TexAnns (14-2, 4-0) into numerous turnovers and riding a 12-0 run at the start of the second half to take a 39-35 lead. They managed to protect a narrow lead until the 3:28 mark when Tarleton junior guard Shelby Adamson put the TexAnns ahead 54-52 with a pair of free throws.
Zias senior Vanessa O’Neal converted a 3-point play with 10 seconds left to bring ENMU within 61-59, but two free throws each from Adamson and senior Sonya Sundberg clinched the TexAnns’ win.
“I was real pleased with our effort,” Zias coach Linden Weese said. “We just gave up too many offensive rebounds and had too many turnovers.”
Weese said his team needed a springboard to get things moving and added that Saturday’s effort, even though a losing one, might provide a spark for his team.
“They’re not ranked 25th in the nation for nothing,” Weese said. “We just took No. 25 to the buzzer.”
Tarleton coach Ronnie Hearne said he and his team came into the game careful not to underestimate the Zias, and said his team was fortunate to come out with a win.
“They got physical with us and we didn’t handle it very well,” Hearne said. “I played a lot of girls. Fortunately, we found five finishers out there.”
O’Neal recorded her first double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Precious Herrin led the Zias with 16 points.
Adamson paced the TexAnns with 18 points and Brittnie Haley added 16 despite early foul trouble.
Tarleton men 77, ENMU 53 — The Greyhounds (7-9, LSC South 2-2) held their own in the first half and even managed to tie things up 21-21 with a Stefan Mirabal trey at the 7:04 mark. That was the last time the Texans (13-3, 4-0) were out of the lead, however.
Senior guard Corin Henry paced the Texans early as he dropped in 16 of his game-high 18 points in the first half.
Once Tarleton got a good lead, the inside game for the Hounds went by the wayside as the Texans outrebounded ENMU 44-27 and began to get the ball inside the paint more often.
For ENMU, 33 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from the charity stripe was ultimately the Hounds’ undoing.
“We just didn’t play well, we missed the shots,” said ENMU coach Andrew Helton. “I wasn’t disappointed in the way we practiced, and we didn’t make any mistakes scheme-wise. We just didn’t play well.”
ENMU senior Tyler Jefferson matched Henry for game scoring honors with 18 points, and he also grabbed nine rebounds. But no one else reached double figures for the Hounds.
Fabian Wilson added 16 point for Tarleton, and Wes Dipprey scored 11.